The son of the Reverend Samuel Lysons (1730–1804) and Mary Peach Lysons of Rodmarton, Gloucestershire, Lysons studied at Bath Grammar School and St Mary Hall, Oxford, graduating MA in 1785, and followed in his father's footsteps to become a curate in Putney, west London from 1789 to 1800. While at Putney, Lysons began his survey of the area around London, in which he was encouraged by Horace Walpole, who appointed him as his chaplain.
In 1800, he inherited the family estates at Hempsted, near Gloucester, from his uncle, and the following year married Sarah Hardy (ca. 1780-1808), with whom he had one daughter, Charlotte, born in 1807. In 1813, he married Josepha Catherine Susanna Cooper (ca. 1781-1868). His daughter went on to marry Sir James Carnegie, 5th Baronet (1799-1849).
Lysons's major work is The Environs of London, being an Historical Account of the Towns, Villages and Hamlets within twelve miles of that Capital. With his brother Samuel, Lysons began Magna Britannia, being a concise Topographical Account of the several Counties of Great Britain (1806–1822), but after the first six volumes, covering the counties from B to D, Samuel died and the project was discontinued. Daniel Lysons also contributed views and illustrations to other works and published several pamphlets on religious and historical subjects.
- "Lysons family, recipient. Lysons family letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi: Guide. (Historical Note)". Harvard University Library. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- Anderson, William (1867), The Scottish Nation: Or the Surnames, Families, Literature, Honours, and Biographical History of the People of Scotland, Vol. III, A. Fullarton & Co., p. 493
- "Guide to the Lysons Family Collection". Yale University Library. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- Lyson's The Environs of London: volume 1 to 4 at British History Online
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